There is something so evocative.
“For me and a number of other people in the field, he’s very much in the same league as Arthur Waley as a translator”, says my interviewee, over and over again as I fine-tune this part.
It’s my documentary on Angus Graham, the late professor of Classical Chinese at SOAS. The interviewee is one of his friends and colleagues, Professor Henry Rosemont.
It’s inevitable now that I root out the clip from Setting Sail, on the Death of Arthur Waley. The Third Coast Festival hosted that clip when giving a special award to its producer Piers Plowright.
It features Arthur Waley’s wife describing his death. It’s one of my favourite radio pieces, one which I listen to, sometimes before heading out on an interview, sometimes when the financial strain makes me think of chucking it all in.
Both Arthur Waley and Angus Graham translated the ancient philosophy, and Tang poetry. One was based in SOAS, the other associated with it.
And somehow, listening to Arthur Waley’s wife, looking out a wood-framed London window, I feel tied in, seeing or feeling how they did, understanding the role. The path, if you will.